Friday, April 4, 2014

Destination of the Month: Greece

Like lots of precocious teenagers, I too had a Nietzsche phase. I even obsessively read The Birth of Tragedy, his first one, much milder than his later tracts and ostensibly his jumping off point from philology to his own brand of philosophy. The book likes to hammer home the dichotomy between the Apollonian and the Dionysian arts - that is the "plastic" arts like sculpture and its opposite arts like music and poetry that came afterward and celebrate the more unconscious frenzied and liberated side of things. It is the opinion of your humble narrator that this dichotomy exists in all the best stories. "Beauty and the Beast." Jane Eyre. Narcissus and Goldmund. Lady Chatterley's Lover. Brothers Karamazov. And Zorba the Greek, one of my favorites of all time is no exception. (Though Zorba is from Crete and not exactly Greek I have to mention. But Aristotle is Macedonian, so I say Greek is a state of mind, man, live and let live). Zorba is a refreshing, effervescent novel, a shot of ouzo with a hint of lemon on a beautiful beach. It's a love letter to life, and to enjoying one's work and seizing the moment, and if there's anything that this long winter, now finally fading has taught us hardy New Englanders is to be like Zorba's foil Basil and run for the sun! Enjoy it while it lasts! So stop by and get inspired to see the ruins of the Delphic oracle, find true happiness in Aristotle, learn to ask for saganaki in Greek or meander your own maze sans minotaur, and let Kazantzakis be your oracle for a fantastic new adventure:
“This is true happiness: to have no ambition and to work like a horse as if you had every ambition. To live far from men, not to need them and yet to love them. To have the stars above, the land to your left and the sea to your right and to realize of a sudden that in your heart, life has accomplished its final miracle: it has become a fairy tale.” -Zorba the Greek

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